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Government rolls out tree planting drive

The Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Dr Chris Kiptoo speaking after he launched a tree nursery in Minara location, Muhoroni sub-county in Kisumu County.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has rolled out a national tree planting campaign to help the country attain 10% forest cover.

The initiative to be implemented across the 47 counties, targets to plant two billion seedlings by the year 2022.

Environment Principal Secretary (PS) Dr. Chris Kiptoo said the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) will provide assorted certified seeds to be issued to communities, government institutions and non-state organizations to produce tree seedlings.

Kenya Forest Service (KFS), he said has embarked on licensing individuals and organizations which shall produce the tree seedlings to make the exercise a success.

The PS said only licensed seedbeds will benefit from the free KEFRI seedlings after which they will be supplied for planting at designated points within the respective counties.

The two billion seedlings are to be shared amongst the counties based on the availability of space and the current forest cover.

Speaking Wednesday during the launch of the campaign in Kisumu, which is a pilot county, Dr Kiptoo said a multi-agency committee co-chaired by the County Commissioner and County Governor will oversee the implementation of the campaign.

The PS decried the poor forest cover in the region urging the multi-agency teams to step up efforts to address the gap. So far Kisumu has 0.44%, Siaya 0.42, Homa Bay 0.26%, Migori 0.62, Kisii 2.62 and Nyamira 7%.

The campaign will be escalated to cover the entire Nyanza region before being rolled out to the other counties nationally.

“This campaign has been approved by the cabinet following a presidential directive to boost forest cover to 10% by the year 2022,” said the PS.

The National Environment Fund (NETFUND) will harness resources for implementation of the project, adding that all government departments and state corporations have been directed to spare 10% of their budgets towards the course.

Dr. Kiptoo disclosed that through the campaign, Kenya targets to break the Guinness Book of Records as the country that planted the highest number of trees in a day.

“According to our calculations, one Kenyan can plant up to 60 seedlings in a day and this is what we are aiming at when we accelerate the program,” he said.

In the meantime, all chiefs and assistant chiefs, schools and learning institutions have been directed to establish seedbeds to supply seedlings for the campaign.

He added that the over 15, 000 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) shall also be reached to establish seedbeds.

Speaking during the same occasion, Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang Nyong’o said his government was committed to planting Sh40 million tree seedlings to support the national afforestation agenda.

He said the department of environment has so far established more than four tree nurseries within its sub counties to help boost afforestation.

The county targets to produce about 500,000 tree seedlings annually from the four tree nurseries established across the county.

He governor added that the county government will work with KFS to enhance afforestation of the 400 hectares Koguta Forest in Nyakach Sub-County and 25 hectares Karateng Forest in Kisumu West Sub County.

 

By Chris Mahandara

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